My Pen Is Mighty

The sista-with-an-attitude storyline is tired and old. Welcome to the new school of centering Black women in TV food competitions.

Chef Syann Williams in the “Shrimply Spectacular” episode of “Hell’s Kitchen,” which aired in early 2021. Photo: Fox via Getty Images


Dressed to the nines or not, some restaurants just don’t want Black folk to show up. Let’s discuss.

Some dress codes at restaurants only materialize after Black patrons show up en masse. Photo: Getty Images


Burdened with a long, racist past for workers and customers, the gratuity system deserves to be forever shelved

Many hospitality workers are at the mercy of their customers. Photo: Getty Images

My Pen Is Mighty

Using food as ‘verbal hugs’ is welcome within the Black community, but outsiders should tread lightly.

In the Black community, we sometimes use food — like this vanilla, caramel and chocolate layered dessert — as a stand-in for skin color. It’s only a problem if folk abuse the practice. Image: Getty


Edouardo Jordan and Darius Williams are in hot water for allegations of misconduct. What happens next?

A chef prepares a dish. Image: Getty

New Column Alert: My Pen Is Mighty

Want to understand how African American cuisine transformed America? Ask a sista.

A chef prepares a shrimp dish for the Netflix docuseries ‘High on the Hog.’ Image: Netflix

Audarshia Townsend

Audarshia Townsend is a Chicago-based journalist who covers food & beverage for Esquire, Time Out, Chicago Magazine, Eater Chicago and other publications.

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